Formula One

Hungarian GP Track Layout, Turns and DRS Zones Analysed

Returning from a one-week break, F1 makes its way to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Join us for a tour of the Hungarian GP layout, and don’t forget to also check out our F1 predictions and the odds for the weekend.

F1 Hungarian GP Layout
Circuit atmosphere – kerb detail. 28.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Preparation Day. –, EMail: [email protected] © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images – Photo by Icon sport

Hungarian GP Layout: Monaco Without Barriers?

Hungaroring has since long drawn comparison to the Monte Carlo Circuit. A short but tight, twisty and slow circuit, the Hungarian GP layout isn’t exactly a favorite among fans and drivers. Despite this, the track has provided plenty of entertaining races, particularly when there is rain involved.

Drivers start the lap down the long front straight, breaking hard for turn 1 – a slow, wide radius corner. It’s the best (and perhaps the only) overtaking spot around the track. The cars then get back on the throttle before braking hard again for turn 2 – a slow, long radius downhill left-hander.

From turn 2, it’s flat out through turn 3, a short flick to the right. Drivers then go down another straight and just breathe the throttle for turn 4, a fast sweep to the left. Next comes turn 5, a medium speed right-hander that sets drivers up for the turns 6-7 chicane.

Exiting the chicane, the cars go through turns 8 and 9, a medium speed left-right complex. Drivers then take turn 10 flat out and briefly breathe the throttle for turn 11, in another left-right sequence. They then head down a short straight, braking hard into turn 12. Following another short straight, it’s once again hard on the brakes for turn 13 – a long left-hander that is immediately followed by turn 14. The last corner is a wide radius right-hander that allows drivers to take multiple lines, creating the occasional overtaking opportunity.

Hungaroring Circuit DRS Zones: Back-to-Back Corners

With only one long straight, Hungaroring doesn’t offer many chances for drivers to use their overtaking assist. The Hungarian GP only has two DRS zones, which come one after the other.

The first Hungaroring DRS zone is located on the main straight, creating a decent overtaking chance under braking for turn 1. Immediately after that comes the second DRS zone, down the short straight leading to turn 2. Overtaking can be tricky here, as turn 2 is a downhill corner that also allows drivers to defend their position around the outside, which then becomes the inside for turn 3.

Both DRS zones use the same detection spot, located on the entrance of turn 14.

Hungaroring Racing History

1986Ayrton SennaNelson Piquet
1987Nigel MansellNelson Piquet
1988Ayrton SennaAyrton Senna
1989Riccardo PatreseNigel Mansell
1990Thierry BoutsenThierry Boutsen
1991Ayrton SennaAyrton Senna
1992Riccardo PatreseAyrton Senna
1993Alain ProstDamon Hill
1994Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher
1995Damon HillDamon Hill
1996Michael SchumacherJacques Villeneuve
1997Michael SchumacherJacques Villeneuve
1998Mika HakkinenMichael Schumacher
1999Mika HakkinenMika Hakkinen
2000Michael SchumacherMika Hakkinen
2001Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher
2002Rubens BarrichelloRubens Barrichello
2003Fernando AlonsoFernando Alonso
2004Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher
2005Michael SchumacherKimi Raikkonen
2006Kimi RaikkonenJenson Button
2007Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2008Lewis HamiltonHeikki Kovalainen
2009Fernando AlonsoLewis Hamilton
2010Sebastian VettelMark Webber
2011Sebastian VettelJenson Button
2012Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2013Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2014Nico RosbergDaniel Ricciardo
2015Lewis HamiltonSebastian Vettel
2016Nico RosbergLewis Hamilton
2017Sebastian VettelSebastian Vettel
2018Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2019Max VerstappenLewis Hamilton
2020Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2021Lewis HamiltonEsteban Ocon
2022George RussellMax Verstappen

In the first ever Hungarian Grand Prix, fans were treated to a fantastic battle between Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet. On lap 56, Piquet attempted a move around the outside of turn 1, but ended up sliding and got passed again. Then, on the following lap, the Williams driver went for the same move. This time around, Piquet was able to execute a perfect drift and completed the move, in what is widely regarded as the greatest overtake in F1 history.

Twenty years later, in 2006, the Hungaroring held its first ever F1 GP under wet conditions. And the race delivered plenty of drama. Title rivals Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher endured a terrible day, and the mixed conditions took care of the rest to mix up the order. In the end, Jenson Button triumphed over the tricky conditions to claim his and Honda’s first Grand Prix victory. The British driver led home seasoned veteran Pedro de la Rosa, who had secured his first and only F1 podium.

In 2011, another wet race brought plenty of drama, as drivers slid and spun all over the place. Once again Button emerged victorious, displaying his well-known mastery over changing weather conditions. Three years later, in 2014, an early safety car created chaos, leading to multiple tyre strategies. Daniel Ricciardo, on a fresher set of rubber, overtook Alonso and Lewis Hamilton with three laps to go and claimed his second win of the season.

In 2021, more rain and more drama: Valtteri Bottas caused a red flag interruption after triggering a massive pile-up at the start, damaging Max Verstappen’s car in the process and effectively taking the Dutchman out of contention. A shower fell during the stoppage, prompting all drivers, except for Hamilton, to pit for intermediates at the end of the second formation lap. It led to an unusual scene, with the Mercedes driver lining up by his lonesome on the grid. Hamilton was forced to pit the next lap for intermediates, and Esteban Ocon emerged in the lead. The Frenchman then fended off Sebastian Vettel to claim his maiden F1 victory. Vettel would later be disqualified for a technical infringement, promoting a charging Hamilton to second.

Last year, George Russell scored a shock first career pole position. The British driver, however, did not have the pace to hold off the much quicker Charles Leclerc. As the Monegasque looked set to win, Ferrari took the questionable decision to switch for hards on a notoriously cold summer day. Verstappen, who had started down in ninth, methodically made his way up the order before pulling off a spin-and-win, having to make two overtakes for the lead.

What Lies Ahead for 2023

Hungaroring is a bit of an outlier in a stretch of the schedule defined by high-speed, downforce-reliant tracks. Despite this, Red Bull should still be considered the favorite around the tight and twisty Hungarian GP layout. Keep an eye on Aston Martin, as the team’s superior mechanical grip could provide it with a break following disappointing performances in Austria and Great Britain.

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